Businesses continue to unlock the value of assets
Asset Finance business at United Trust Bank remains robust and there has been strong growth in demand for the refinancing of assets. This is due in part to the continued reluctance of High Street Banks to lend to businesses which has led to requests to refinance either unencumbered assets or assets where there is significant equity i.e. after the existing finance is settled. Businesses are using these funds for a whole range of different purposes.
The strength of the asset finance sector can also be seen in the results of our most recent broker survey which revealed that eight out of ten intermediaries saw levels of asset finance business the same or higher in 2011 than the year before. A significant 43% reported the business they had introduced to funders was in excess of 2010 totals.
Across all areas of the bank we continue to see businesses needing to unlock value to help finance growth or meet liabilities. We have had cases of borrowers using bridging loans against their property equity to meet significant and unforeseen tax or VAT liabilities and on one occasion we enabled an experienced developer to complete a development project in Italy by using the equity in their UK home.
Within asset finance we’ve been able to help customers unlock the value of a wide variety of assets and for very diverse uses. For example, We have recently assisted two customers in the agricultural sector who wanted to build extensions to their office premises but didn’t wish to tie up working capital which could be used more efficiently elsewhere in the business. By identifying suitable assets which were free of any finance, we were able to advance the money required to carry out the necessary building work without delay.
In another case a customer wanted to upgrade his light aircraft to a newer, more expensive model. He had a number of unencumbered agricultural machines that we arranged to refinance to enable the customer to negotiate the best possible price on his new plane. We were also approached by a company who wished to buy out an investor who’d originally provided funds to set up the company. Now wishing to take full control of the business, we provided the funds which allowed them to buy out the investor by lending a significant sum against an extensive fleet of unencumbered construction equipment.
These few examples demonstrate some of the many ways in which we are helping our customers, via our network of trusted brokers, to raise funds for many different purposes, through a quick and efficient approval and processing system. With little sign of the high street banks becoming more flexible in their lending to business we fully expect the demand for asset finance from specialist lenders like UTB to grow for the foreseeable future.